Leadership Team


Our Leadership Team works with you to create change makers in medical education, clinical medicine, and biomedical research around the globe.

Meet the HSI Leadership Team

UC San Diego Health Sciences International Leadership Team includes experienced health care leaders who are committed to building international relationships that benefit both organizations.

Our leaders are dedicated to improving the quality of health care through excellence in clinical medicine, medical education, and bio-medical research.

UC San Diego Leader

Dr. John M. Carethers is vice chancellor for Health Sciences at University of California San Diego. In this role, he leads the School of Medicine, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science and UC San Diego Health.

A distinguished physician-scientist and leader in the field of gastroenterological research and treatment, Dr. Carethers’ clinical and research interests include familial colon cancer syndromes, mechanisms of tumor progression, DNA mismatch repair and colorectal cancer disparities. 

Dr. Carethers joins UC San Diego from a 13-year tenure at the University of Michigan, where he served as the C. Richard Boland Distinguished University Professor and the John G. Searle Professor and chair of the Department of Internal Medicine. 

Prior to that, Dr. Carethers spent nearly 15 years at UC San Diego School of Medicine, eventually serving as chief of the Division of Gastroenterology. One of his many accomplishments as division chief was securing the inaugural National Institutes of Health-funded Gastroenterology Center Grant that allowed the division to grow scientifically and partner with other local institutions, such as the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, Scripps Research Institute and Sanford Burnham Prebys. 

Dr. Carethers earned his medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1989, completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1992 and his gastroenterology fellowship at University of Michigan in 1995. 

On the national scene, Dr. Carethers has served as the president for both the Association of American Physicians and the American Gastroenterological Association. He served as chair of the Minorities in Research Council of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), developed and co-chaired the programming for the eighth and 10th Science of Cancer Health Disparities conferences, and commenced and contributed to the inaugural (2020) and subsequent (2022) AACR Cancer Health Disparities Report and its presentation to the United States Congress. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.

As vice chancellor, Dr. Carethers drives the overarching strategy for all of Health Sciences, working with the chancellor, campus and health system leadership on expanding UC San Diego Health’s clinical enterprise, fostering research collaborations, enhancing educational opportunities and expanding philanthropic participation. His collaborative approach, deep expertise and leadership continue to expand and diversify the global prestige and distinction of our university’s health sciences.

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Vice Chancellor, UC San Diego Health Sciences

Dr. Mounir Soliman is assistant vice chancellor and executive director for Health Sciences International at UC San Diego. In his role, he provides the overall leadership and strategic direction for the development of programs for Health Sciences International. He works closely with the senior leadership to align the international service lines with UC San Diego Health’s core mission. He is instrumental in advocating and promoting leading-edge research, advanced education and innovative clinical programs.

Dr. Soliman is well known for his expertise in the development of innovative and economically based health sciences campuses. He has led UC San Diego Health Sciences’ effort in the establishment of strategic alliances with global government and non-government organizations for the development of schools of medicine, schools of pharmacy, university teaching hospitals, biomedical research and research parks. Specifically, Dr. Soliman led the UC San Diego effort for planning and development of the collaborative partnership with Perdana University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for their graduate medical education program, teaching hospital and biomedical research.

Additionally, Dr. Soliman is a clinical professor of psychiatry. His research primarily focuses on treatment-resistant mood disorders and the application of non-psychopharmacological approaches such as Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) and Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS).

Previously, Dr. Soliman served as chief of clinical services for the Department of Psychiatry, where he provided both clinical and administrative leadership for inpatient, outpatient and specialty programs. He worked to improve access to services, safety, quality and patient satisfaction, which led, in part, to the advancement of the Department of Psychiatry internationally.

Dr. Soliman is also an expert in developing elite wellness programs tailored to executives. These programs have been featured in Forbes, the San Diego Business Journal, Men’s Health, Best Life and the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Dr. Soliman joined the UC San Diego faculty in 1998 after completing his postgraduate training in the Department of Psychiatry. In addition to his medical degree, he also holds an MBA in health care from the Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine.

A member of the UC San Diego Medical Board of Governors and the UC San Diego Professional Standards Committee, he is also a member of the Steering Committee for Global Health Initiatives and serves on the Springboard Panel for the CONNECT Program. Nationally, Dr. Soliman serves as an external reviewer for AAMC Medical Education and a consultant to the Council on International Psychiatry for American Psychiatric Association.

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Assistant Vice Chancellor and Executive Director
UC San Diego Health Sciences International
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry

Dr. Gary Firestein is director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute, dean and associate vice chancellor of translational medicine and a professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. He joined the faculty as an assistant professor of medicine in 1988.

Four years later, he was recruited by Gensia, Inc. to be director of immunology. At Gensia, he supervised drug discovery efforts, focusing on the potential role of purines in inflammation. In 1996, he returned to UC San Diego Health where he served as chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology from 1998 to 2010.

Dr. Firestein’s research focuses on the pathogenesis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. He was among the first to map the cytokine profile of rheumatoid arthritis and demonstrate the dominance of macrophage and fibroblast products. These studies played a pivotal role in the development of highly effective anti-TNF and other anti-cytokine therapies for rheumatoid arthritis.

He was chairperson of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Arthritis Advisory Committee and has served on the board of directors of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Research and Education Foundation. He currently is a member of the board of directors of the Veteran’s Medical Research Foundation and serves on the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) Advisory Council. He has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.

Dr. Firestein received the Arthritis Foundation’s Jane Wyman Humanitarian Award in 2010 for his contributions to rheumatology. In 2006 and 2009, he received the Arthritis Foundation Lee C. Howley Sr. Prize for Arthritis Research and the American College of Rheumatology Distinguished Investigator Award, respectively. In 1998, he received the Carol-Nachman Prize, an international award given for outstanding contributions to rheumatology research.

The author of more than 300 articles and chapters, Dr. Firestein has edited and written several books. He served as the deputy editor of Arthritis & Rheumatism and is currently the editor-in-chief of Kelley’s Textbook of Rheumatology.

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Associate Vice Chancellor, Clinical and Translational Research

Christopher J. Kane, MD, is a board-certified urologist who specializes in diagnosing and treating patients with prostate, kidney, bladder and testicular cancer. He has extensive expertise in robotic prostatectomy, open and laparoscopic kidney cancer surgery, and bladder and testes cancer surgery. He also provides care for conditions including benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate; elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels; and the presence of blood in urine (hematuria).

Dr. Kane serves as dean of clinical affairs for UC San Diego School of Medicine and chief executive officer for UC San Diego Health Physician Group. In these dual roles, Dr. Kane collaborates with UC San Diego leadership to ensure that UC San Diego Health Physician Group achieves the highest standards of service, access, quality, safety, and patient satisfaction and is integrated to support the unique and growing needs of an expanding academic health system and its growing regional network of providers.

Dr. Kane has authored more than 320 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters with a focus on prostate cancer risk factors and outcomes, prostate cancer surgery and minimally invasive surgery for prostate and kidney cancer. He serves on the editorial boards of several major urology journals as well as the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Prostate Cancer Management Guidelines Committee. He co-chaired the National Cancer Institute’s Renal Cell Carcinoma Advisory Task Force from 2012–2016.

Prior to joining UC San Diego Health, Dr. Kane held leadership positions at UC San Francisco and the Naval Medical Center San Diego. He was awarded the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Medal by UC Davis in 2011. In 2014, he was elected to membership in the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons. He is a retired Navy Captain and a decorated veteran of Desert Storm.

Dr. Kane completed his residency at the Naval Medical Center in Oakland, Calif. He received his medical degree from Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Kane is board certified in urology.

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Dean, Clinical Affairs
CEO, UC San Diego Health Physicians

Steven Garfin, MD, is a board-certified and world-renowned orthopedic surgeon specializing in the adult spine. He is consistently elected as a top doctor in San Diego Magazine’s “Physicians of Exceptional Excellence" annual survey performed in collaboration with the San Diego County Medical Society.

Dr. Garfin performs reconstructive spine surgery and provides treatment for people with adult scoliosis, back and neck pain, sciatica, spinal cord injuries, spinal trauma, and other spinal conditions and diseases. He has been involved in the design and assessment of new surgical techniques and instrumentation to treat spinal disorders. These include lumbar and cervical anterior plating systems, kyphoplasty to treat painful osteoporotic vertebral fractures, artificial discs, and biologic alternatives to bone grafts. His work has contributed to the development of current international standards in surgical care of the spine.

Dr. Garfin served as chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery for 21 years. As interim dean of UC San Diego School of Medicine, Dr. Garfin provides oversight for all academic and clinical departments, as well as the research units. In this role, he also oversees the school’s educational mission, provides leadership to all School of Medicine councils, and collaborates with the other deans across UC San Diego.

Dr. Garfin has received multiple awards for research, teaching, and clinical care. He has published more than 300 articles, authored 145 book chapters, and edited 21 books.

He completed his fellowship in disorders of the spine at Pennsylvania Hospital. Dr. Garfin earned his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School. He is board certified in general orthopedics.

Dr. Garfin is a member of most national and international spine societies, including American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, Cervical Spine Research Society, North American Spine Society, the International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery, and more. For several of these societies he has served as president, board member, or program chairman.

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Interim Dean, School of Medicine